Even though the digital marketing world has pages in pixels instead of forests and trees, it's safe to say that business owners and executives still miss one for the other far more often than they should.
In particular, we often find that new clients don't just obsess over the details of online marketing and search engine optimization, but tend to obsess over the wrong ones on a regular basis.
That's certainly something we can understand, especially when profits and competitive positioning are on the line. Still, it's the overall effectiveness of your campaigns - and especially the increase or decrease in new sales opportunities that are being generated - that matter most, not the dozens of little individual indicators that often creep into the picture.
To understand what we mean, here are five online marketing details business owners and executives tend to worry about more than they should:
1. Keywords. As online marketing tools and concepts go, business owners and executives tend to "get" keywords right away. More keywords equals more search visibility, or so they think, and so they spend far too much time finding ways to cram them into a site. Yes, keywords are important, but developing great content is much more crucial to your company's real-world success. A side benefit of great content is earning top positions for quality keywords.
2. Web traffic statistics. In the same way, there is a certain amount of common sense to scrutinizing web visitor statistics. You can't get leads if no one visits your site, so these numbers are inherently important. But, finding the right visitors is always preferable to finding more of them, and so things like page usage, conversion ratios, etc., are just as important as the number of visits your website receives.
3. Numbers of fans and followers on social media sites. This is essentially the same mistake, but transferred onto sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Obviously, a bigger network will usually lead to more sales opportunities. But, finding great prospects and engaging them is a better path to profitability than just looking at the numbers is. Who cares if you have thousands of fans or followers if they aren't interested in doing business with you?
4. Competitors. We all have competitors we have to keep an eye on, and others that get under our skin. Most of the time, though, what they're up to shouldn't really affect you or your business all that much - especially if you're taking the right steps to build a strong online marketing platform.
5. Web design and online marketing fees. Does it seem a little self-serving to include online marketing fees? Perhaps, but the reality is that too many businesses still shop on price, rather than thinking about the long-term results they want to create. Treat design and marketing like an investment, with an eye towards ROI first and the number you see on a proposal second.
Again, we want to point out that we aren't claiming that none of these things matter; it's just that they don't matter as much as you might think. The most important thing about your business website is that it's helping you accomplish your real business goals, which usually involve growing your company and generating new sales opportunities.
Sometimes focusing on individual statistics can actually detract from more important progress. A classic example lies in search engine optimization, where companies get so obsessed with their rankings, or the numbers of visitors that they are receiving, that they throw good marketing sense out the window just to move up two spots on Google. Doing so often hurts the business's credibility and sales potential, but that kind of short-term thinking is easy to embrace when you're looking in the wrong direction.
The best advice we can give you is to pay attention to everything, but pay the most attention to the things that really matter.